AAL Nanajing loaded four large chimney sections for an Australian waste-to-energy plant in late September.

The combined weight of the sections was nearly 500 tonnes and they were 6000 cubic metres in size.

The units were manufactured and loaded in Humen, China, and shipped along AAL’s Asia-West Coast Australia monthly liner service to Henderson WA for installation at the Kwinana Waste to Energy Plant – the first such facility in the country.

The $700-million Kwinana plant will create 800 jobs and is located 40 km south of Perth. It will process 486,000 tonnes of industrial and domestic waste every year to generate 36 megawatts.

AAL China general manager Jack Zhou said the company’s engineering and operations teams were very capable of handling the operation despite the extreme size of the units.

“The issues we did face were mostly due to local Chinese COVID restrictions, creating port congestion, slow productivity and unavoidable delays of anything up to two weeks. Heavy lifting operations of this kind require many hands-on-deck to assist with executing the complex shackling, lashing and stowage plan,” he said.

“On this occasion, local stevedores were not permitted to embark the vessel, and this caused delays and cost far more time and energy for our crew than would normally have been required.”

Frank Mueller, general manager of AAL’s Asia-Australia liner services, said, “Like the rest of the multipurpose sector, AAL is facing pressure and incentives from container shippers to carry yet more containers on our mega-size vessels to fill the gap left by container carriers and ro-ro operators. Despite this, AAL will continue to prioritise the needs of our project, breakbulk, and heavy lift partners and our monthly liner services between Asia and Australia are operated for them, as they have been for the past 26 years.”